Weekend Forecast for January 4-6, 2013
By Reagen Sulewski
January 4, 2013
Now, where were we? After Christmas 2012's subdued orgy of box office gold, things get back to more-or-less normal patterns, though we still have a lot of Oscar-baiting expansions to deal with. And, as has somehow become something of a tradition, we also have a horror film to pair with them. Nothing like ringing in the New Year with pointless carnage, right?
That it's from one of the grand-daddy franchises of horror mitigates things a bit, although by the same token, is there really anything possible to say about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre anymore? I mean, what possible reason can there be for another installme... oh, right. 3D. Carry on, then.
This feels like approximately the 12th reboot of the Texas Chainsaw Franchise since the original film in 1974, which has gone from the highs of cult classic status, to the lows of being starred with Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger and back up to highs again with the Michael Bay-produced remake. Sacrilege though they were, at least thy seemed to have a point in existing, updating the series to the “modern” style of horror at the time. Torture porn has kind of died out in the meantime, replaced by voyeurism horror, so this film is basically just a dude in a mask running around with a chainsaw. Without the gimmick of 3D, this film has almost zero reason to exist.
Starring no one you've ever heard of, and directed by the guy who brought you Takers (the anti-Heat), this is one of the more cynical products that the Hollywood horror film factory has put out in some time. That's not going to stop you completely from seeing it, but I do think it's going to be just a modest $13 million opening weekend.
The major expansion this weekend is Promised Land, Gus van Sant's fracking drama starring Matt Damon. Although it's highly topical, it has the feel of an advocacy film that's going to be like being preached at for two hours. Damon plays a natural gas salesman brought in to help close the residents of a small town in rural Pennsylvania on the idea of allowing hydrofracturing on their land. The Office's John Krasinski plays an environmental activist who throws a monkey wrench in his plans. At the same time, a love triangle also develops with the two and Rosemarie DeWitt, a local farmer whose land is crucial in the potential deal.
Although the film is getting some praise for not taking the easy route with its villains and heroes, it's also taking a lot of criticism for its melodramatic plot and a weird swerve of a third act that's leaving many cold. To date, it's failed to win over audiences in its limited release, with an unimpressive $173,000 in 25 venues. For a film with significant star power and Oscar hopes, that's not a good start. Co-written by Damon and Krasinski with Dave Eggers, its expansion to around 1,400 venues should bring in around $4 million.